Deer season slow so far

Now that the fishing season has pretty much wrapped up for me, I’m on to my second favourite thing to do in the outdoors—chasing whitetail deer around.
I will do a little bit of guiding and spend a pile of time in the woods over the course of the next month or so. We have great deer-hunting opportunities in Sunset Country with pretty good numbers of deer, and there is always a shot at seeing a trophy-sized buck.
I’ve been in deer mode for a couple of weeks now and overall it’s been a tough start for me. Hunters typically want to be in woods when the deer get interested in breeding, which is also known as the rut.
Typically this occurs between Nov. 5 and 15. As this period approaches, deer (particularly bucks) become a lot less inhibited than they are during the rest of the year and it is much more common to see them out wandering around during daylight hours.
In the weeks prior to the rut, whitetail bucks cover a lot of ground looking for does (females) and marking their territory with rubs on trees and scrapes on the ground. They have several glands on their bodies that they use to leave their mark during these activities.
The best way for hunters to scout good areas to hunt is to find this sign. The bigger the tree that is rubbed, the bigger the buck more than likely.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the woods, looking for good deer sign, and have been coming up empty more often than not.
Those of you who live in town surely are used to seeing plenty of deer—the populations in all our communities across the region are off the charts. Out in the woods, however, the deer numbers are much less than they were five years ago.
A couple of tough winters, a decrease in quality food, and possibly a high wolf population have contributed to the drop in numbers, although there still are plenty of deer to provide for good hunting opportunities.
You just have to put a little work in to find them.
The thing is, there just isn’t a pile of rut sign in the woods yet to reveal the location of deer. Usually there are rubs on trees all over the place by now, but there are just some here and there.
Most likely things really will pick up this week.
We probably can blame the weather because it’s been warm, but it has not been unseasonably warm so who knows? Maybe the deer know something we don’t and are planning to do their breeding later than normal so that fawns are born later in the spring?
This could be an indication we might have a nasty winter ahead of us?
On a fishing note, it sounds like musky fishing is hot right now. Two of my good buddies, Jay Samsal and Mike Reid, were out on Lake of the Woods this past weekend and caught a few big fish.
They also had several other good ones follow up.
I also have heard good reports from anglers catching crappies and walleyes, as well. So if the boat isn’t wrapped up for the winter yet, you still have some time to get out there.

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